IHSA exec: Decisions on how to return must be made in next 2 weeks
In the wake of Thursday's announcement that the Illinois High School Association is adding restrictions to its Phase 4 return-to-play plan, IHSA executive director Craig Anderson said in a Friday radio interview that several options are on the table for prep sports in the upcoming school year.
In an interview with WRMJ sports director Jim Taylor, Anderson said a wide range of possibilities are being discussed including the cancellation of the fall sports season, a modified or shortened season for all three sports seasons and the possibility of flipping fall sports with spring sports.
Anderson, though, said the options dwindle with each passing day as the start of fall practice approaches on August 10. He said any major decisions -- especially moving football and other sports to the spring -- must be made in the next two weeks.
And any decision will be made with guidance from the Illinois Department of Health and the Illinois State Board of Education.
"We simply want to provide opportunities," Anderson said. "With these restrictions now on physical contact and how long that could be pushed into the fall, I think there's still some consideration with our schools that would be open to that conversation (about flipping seasons). Even a late decision maybe made in the next week or two.
"(Flipping seasons) still isn't off the table," he said. "A lot of those decisions are going to be made soon, I believe."
Phase 4 of the return-to-play plan was initially approved by the IDPH and went into effect last Sunday. On Thursday, however, the IHSA announced restrictions including no contact among athletes and mask wearing at all times indoors.
The new restrictions also prohibit scrimmaging in several sports including football, basketball, volleyball, soccer, lacrosse, water polo and wrestling.
Guidance is emerging in several states regarding high school athletics, and also in college athletics with conferences like the Ivy League canceling fall sports and the Big Ten canceling nonconference competition.
"That model is starting to play out with some of the collegiate conferences," Anderson said. "If we have to shorten the season but still can provide the opportunity, I'm sure it's something our board will consider."
Although the IHSA board of directors normally doesn't meet in July, Anderson said they'll likely meet in the next two weeks to discuss the options.
"I remain hopeful that even with these setbacks that we'll get back to more activity soon, assuming our schools continue to do it safely and we don't have any spikes or spread of the virus," Anderson said.